If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. - Vincent Van Gogh


Here’s steps for a painting that was pretty defining for me as an artist. It’s a bit older now, but still gives me feels and feels belong on a tumblr. Took three or so days I believe, all from imagination.


Book Review: The $100 Startup

If you’ve never heard of Chris Guillebeau, you’re about to meet one of your new favorite bloggers/authors. He’s the author of the blog The Art of Non-Conformity and the New York Times Bestseller based on that blog.

I thoroughly enjoyed his first book, and his second did not disappoint.

Chris is an awesome guy, and he sent me a few copies to look over and pass out to friends. I only wish I hadn’t taken so long to read it!

Along with being one of the best travel hackers out there (he’s visited 185 countries to-date), he’s also an expert marketer. In my opinion, there are good marketers and there are expert marketers. Expert marketers are the ones that do it without annoying the crap out of you. As such, he can show you how to get your startup off the ground without spending a ton of cash and without ruining your friendships.

One of the most useful parts of the book was his Six Steps to Getting Started Right Now:

  1. Decide on your product or service
  2. Set up a website, even a very basic one. You can get a free one from Wordpress.org (or Tumblr)
  3. Develop an offer (an offer is distinct from a product or service)
  4. Ensure you have a way to get paid (get a free Paypal account to start).
  5. Announce your offer to the world
  6. Learn from steps 1 through 5, then repeat.

He expands on all of these steps throughout the book with great examples of real people who’ve actually done it.

Whether you’ve got an idea for a business or you’re already up and running, this book will be a tremendous resource for you, I promise. Pick up a copy for about $13 here.


Common Beginners Errors on Constructing the Face


During Motivarti, one of the main things Griselda kept drilling into my head was composition/rule of thirds. But my grids were so uneven that I would miss the mark in my work and have to recompose during critique. One day after the program, I found a tutorial on a photography site that literally made me cry (I wish I knew of it sooner). So I decided to make a tumblr version for all to share! Best in full view! Hope you can read my messy writing…

Nine Ways to Make Readers Care for an Amoral Protagonist


Sometimes there’s a hero who is darker than an anti-hero. This character is amoral or morally challenged. We found this article on 109.com and we thought they came up with some great ideas to get your readers on this type of character’s side.

Nine ways to make readers care

  1. Make their ends noble even if their means are evil
  2. Ensure there is a line even they won’t cross
  3. Give them someone or something they care about
  4. Show us how they lost their moral compass
  5. Make everyone else worse than they are
  6. Give them a sense of humour
  7. Make them lose
  8. Falsely accuse them of worse crimes
  9. Make everyone hate them

Read the full article here: 10 Ways to Make Everyone Root for Your Amoral Protagonist

cornflakebox SAID:
Hi Lissa! I love your work and your stories. I hope to work as a story artist myself, and I was wondering if you could give me some tips! Thanks a bunch!



Answering publicly, because i get this question a lot :)
Sorry to anyone who’s asked this before and gotten an abbreviated answer (or no answer, sorrysorrysorry!), it’s a big thing to sit down and write and i want to be as thorough as i can. But i hope this helps anyone who needs it!

Story tips, wow.
I’ll try and list as many as i can! I’ll try to keep it from getting too ramble-y because man, there’s just so much to talk about! I know i’ll leave some out anyway, because there’s stuff i forget all the time. I’ve had the benefit of learning from some really awesome people and goodness knows i’m still learning from them.
I’ll try and get the biggies :)

NOTE: These are all coming from my experience working in feature animation at one studio. Different studios will have different cultures and ways of working, and i understand that boarding for T.V. is a whole different animal from boarding for feature, but i think most of these should apply to visual story-telling across the board.

And as always, these are TIPS not RULES :)

Always think about your character, what they are doing and why they are doing it. This applies to camerawork too. THE CAMERA IS THE INVISIBLE CHARACTER IN EVERY SCENE. Just as a character wouldn’t do something unmotivated, camera moves and shots need motivation too. What are we looking at? WHY are we looking at it? HOW are we seeing it? How is it making the AUDIENCE FEEL? That’s the core of any visual story-telling medium, and in a time-based medium like film you get a whole other level added on.

- Related note: we should always be with the main character. this doesn’t necessarily mean always LOOKING at them, but we should know what’s in their head, what they want, how they feel about what’s going on at any given point in the story. Usually they are the anchor for how the audience is supposed to feel about what’s happening. You lose them, you lose emotion.

"Entertainment" doesn’t always equal "comedy"; it equals "What i’m watching makes me feel something". I’ve found that entertainment often comes from specificity. Think about how you do ordinary things, how people you know do them. Say you have a scene where your character is cooking breakfast. How does she do it in a way that no other character would? Maybe she does a little dance while she’s making an omelette if no one else is around. Maybe she NEVER gets a clean break in an egg and always has to pick bits of eggshell out of there. Maybe she’s out of milk and has to sub in yogurt or something and just prays it doesn’t make her omelette totally gross…
(…sorry, i’m digressing, this is just… a description of me making an omelette.)
Think about specifics, make your character feel real, no matter if they’re making an omelette or falling in love or fighting giant robots.

- All that being said, you also have to be CLEAR and ECONOMICAL with screen time. Consider how much time you have to convey an idea. Sometimes you have time to linger and do fun character stuff. Sometimes you just have a few shots to convey a plot point. Learn to gauge what a scene NEEDS and try and see it in the context of the story as a whole. (note: there are usually still ways to get character specificity in these quick beats. try and find them!)

Clarity is important for drawing boards too. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be detailed (and in many cases it SHOULDN’T be), it doesn’t have to be finished… as long as it’s CLEAR. This is probably the big difference between storyboarding and illustration; story is NOT the place for making pretty pictures :)

- Hand in hand with the last point, is for story you need to be able to draw clear and FAST. Sequence turn-around can be quick (i once had to do three passes on one scene in a week), and in the course of working on a project most of what you do will be redrawn many, many times. Don’t be precious, don’t be afraid to kill your babies.

As a lot of these tips have probably implied, drawing is only a part of storyboarding. You have to understand story structure and film making. There are a lot of resources out there for this. Robert Mckee’s book, simply titled “Story” is a good starting point for understanding story structure, and Bruce Block’s book “The Visual Story” is an amazing breakdown of all the elements of visual story telling as applied to film (but really it applies to anything). I also always direct people to Mark Kennedy’s blog. Mark is a head of story here at Disney, amazing board artist, teacher, and all around good dude. His blog is a masterclass in itself, and he covers a variety of topics from drawing to composition to story: http://sevencamels.blogspot.com/

This is a big one and functions on many levels; you have to work with a team; you have to be able to give notes constructively and not get offended if your notes aren’t taken; you have to remember that you’re working to support the DIRECTORS vision, not your own; you have to be able to take the notes you’re given and not take them PERSONALLY; you have to be willing to throw out all the boards you’ve spent the last week working on and start over if the production requires it; you have to be willing to see your sequence handed off to a different artist who will probably re-draw most of it.
You can’t have an ego because almost NONE of these things are actually about you. They very rarely have any bearing on your ability as an artist. This is just how the process works, and at the end of the day almost no one will actually see the thousands of drawings and all the hard work you’ve done over the course of about two years. They say “all story no glory” and it’s absolutely true.


If you’ve gotten through all of this and aren’t totally terrified… then maybe story is for you :)
Also, to reiterate; many studios work differently. Some places will give you more creative freedom as a story teller than others. I’m really fortunate to work in a place where i do have an amount of creative freedom and feel that my voice is heard and my opinion is valued. But no matter where you work, all of these things can always, always ALWAYS be applied to your own stories. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a big studio or paying the bills as a barista or are still in school, you can ALWAYS tell your own stories :)

Above all, work with confidence, listen to criticism without letting it own you, find the truth in it that will help you be better. And draw draw draw! :)

Im going to be thinking about this all day and flipping out when i remember things i’ve left out.

Lissa is one smart dame and, from my own experience, a lot of this info is pertinent to vis dev as well- not having an ego when you’re working as part of a team or studio is HUGE.


I keep forgetting what the differences are in the over the counter pain relievers, so I made a handy chart.


This may/may not be true for other people, but when I’m wondering about how you choose your colors, I’m wondering about how you make everything, well, harmonic. Noisemaster is a good example of this: he’s got a wide range of colors, but they all work well together, so it doesn’t end up looking garish. So, how do you go about something like that?

Thank you! I want Noisemaster’s pages to look like I’m just selecting colors at random, but it’s really pretty simple. Sure, I use a lot of complementary pairs, triadic colors, etc., but I generally don’t have too much Color Theory Terminology in my head as I’m planning these pages out.

For reference, Pages 447, 448, 451 and 455.

I know I’m not great at technical explanations, but I hope this sheds a little light on what I’m doing!